US and Cuba relations
In Havana, Cubans have a saying: When something goes wrong; when food takes a long time to come out at a restaurant; when all the taxis passing by are full; when someone trips over a bump in the sidewalk—they say, “Es el bloqueo.” This transla
“Brother Obama,” wrote Fidel Castro in a public letter to the American president, “we don’t need the empire to gift us anything.” The article was published on the 28
The small Cuban city of Viñales is a colorful town situated at the foot of the Cordillera de Guaniguanico, a sharply pitched, palm-and-vine-draped mountain range with awe-inspiring internal caves and strikingly stark facades. The rolling fields that surround Viñales are saturated with color: the rich red-brown soil is almost as vivid as the bright green tobacco leaves growing out of it. The tobacco fincas, or plantations, extend around Viñales and into the mountains where coffee is grown as well.
In Cuba, a country where omnipresent political propaganda makes nationalism seem to be less of an option and more of a legal obligation, the streets are filled with images of historical figures.
You are watching a group of dancers perform at an outdoor salsa club when someone standing beside you asks in Spanish, “Where are you from?” You answer, “Los Estados Unidos,” and the young man’s face lights up. He exclaims in rapid, clipped Spanish that you can’t quite understand, and jokingly introduces himself as “Robin Hood.” You laugh.
A new chapter in Cuban-US relations has begun after President Obama’s recent three day trip to Cuba. Upon landing, he spent his time meeting with Raul Castro, touring the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, talking with Cuba’s Cardinal, Jaime Ortega, a proponent of US-Cuban relations, and eating at informal residential restaurants called “paladares.” By all accounts, Obama made sure to do as the locals do in order to normalize relations that have been frozen since the 1960s.